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Feb 25, 2022

The week in investor relations: Markets see wild swings and Russian stocks plunge amid war in Ukraine

This week’s other IR-related stories that we didn’t cover on

– Stock markets experienced wild swings after Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine, reported CNBC. On Thursday, the S&P 500 was down 2.6 percent at one point but ended the day 1.5 percent higher.

– Russian stocks fell significantly on Thursday amid the threat of heavy sanctions, with the Moex index dropping 33 percent, according to the Financial Times (pay wall). Russian companies listed in London also saw their shares hit, with Sberbank plunging 72 percent.

– Two former European politicians stepped down from the boards of Russian companies ‘in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,’ reported the Guardian. Esko Aho, Finland’s former prime minister, resigned as a director of Sberbank, while Italy’s ex-prime minister Matteo Renzi left the board of Delimobil.

– Western countries discussed cutting Russia off from the Swift payment network but have not yet agreed to do so, noted the BBC. Banning Russia would hurt the country’s access to funds but could also damage other countries that do business with Russia, explained the article.

CNN reported that a number of companies suspended production or limited manufacturing output in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion. Companies taking such steps include Carlsberg, a Coca-Cola bottling company, Mondelez and steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal.

– According to Reuters, Volkswagen and its top shareholder have drawn up a preliminary agreement to list Porsche. Analysts estimate Porsche could be valued at up to €90 bn euros ($100 bn) in an IPO.

– The FT reported that Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management is in direct talks with shareholders over its bid to acquire AGL Energy and shut its coal plants early, an offer the head of the Australian utility company described as ‘opportunistic’ and unworthy of engagement.

Reuters said that according to a report by As You Sow, more frequent shareholder revolts show directors should hesitate to raise CEO pay during tough times. Proxy votes against executive pay at S&P 500 companies became more common last year and were often sparked by ‘questionable practices and metrics’, such as when companies eased performance targets during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the report.